At the August 28 city council evening meeting, the council spent over two hours deliberating on where to put the park that is part of the Irvine Development in North San Jose. This item was continued from the August 14 meeting where the council discussed it at length until 1 a.m.
There were two possible park locations discussed. One option was to locate the five acre turnkey park at a central location so that future residents could enjoy the park. The other option was to move the park to the eastern side of the parcel. This location would not suit the majority of residents and the future communities that will eventually live there.
The residents currently living in the existing high-density development want the park to be at the eastern side so it will serve as a buffer to the new development. That may make one pause and think about this option, however. There are a few problems that I found against having the park on the eastern side. One is that the city and community would lose 50 parking spaces resulting in more on-street parking, which I know would lead to problems down the road. Also, a five acre park is for everyone to enjoy, not just those who live adjacent to the park.
Another problem with the eastern side is that this location would not be able to accommodate as many organized playing fields for children or adults. Not allowing room for children to play team sports is not a good use of a five acre park. Again, we must make sure that San Jose’s larger parks are utilized to their fullest potential.
I voted to keep the park in the location that the developer and planning/park staff recommended: the central location. One reason I support this recommendation is that this location would allow for residents to view the park at all times, thus allowing for the potential to prevent vandalism or other suspicious activity at the park.
Keeping the park at its current location also allows the Guadalupe Creek Trail and the Los Gatos Creek Trail to link together there. In addition, at the central location, this five acre park has the potential to be a seven acre park, which will allow all residents of San Jose to utilize it, much like the historic Rose Garden Municipal Park and Alum Rock Park. Moving the park would cap it at five acres.
I find it disingenuous that residents who are living in a high-density development are against others having the opportunity to live in a high-density development. As a resident and an elected official, I want housing to be available for all people, and the amenities that accompany housing to be available to all as well.
As I continue to mention (whenever I get the chance), I support smart urban development and growth within San Jose’s boundaries, not more sprawl. North San Jose is and can continue to be a very thoughtful, well-planned community with large parks, light rail, commercial, industrial, housing and jobs. This type of development is what San Jose needs. In addition, it is important to remember that this specific development will not be occupied until spring/summer 2011.